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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Women’s soccer kicks off season

After a 2011 season that culminated in a heart-breaking semi-final loss in the MIAC tournament, expectations are high for the women’s soccer team in 2012.

Led by first year head coach Michele Cornish, the team is predicted to finish in a tie for third in the MIAC in the coaches’ poll. However, the players certainly believe that they have the potential for far greater things.

“We don’t see any reason why we should be losing to any team on our schedule this year,” said Bonnie Bentson ’14. “We would love a MIAC championship.”

Bentson wasn’t alone in her optimism for this year.

“I’d like to see us win the MIAC,” said Ingrid Greene ’15. “I think that’s a reasonable goal.”

So far, the results have been encouraging. After a rough 2-1 loss in their season opener to St. Scholastica on August 31, the team recorded three straight wins (outscoring their opponents by a combined 10-1 margin in the process), including a huge 1-0 win against #22 Wisconsin-Whitewater on September 1.

“It was the best soccer I’ve ever seen the team play, including last year,” said Greene, describing the team’s performace against Whitewater. “We were just connecting on all parts of the game. We were winning balls at midfield. And our forwards were so dynamic.”

That aggression could be found in the game’s box score. Macalester outshot their opponent 17-7, and recent MIAC Women’s Soccer Player of the Week award winner Georgia Cloepfil ’14 scored seven minutes into the first half.

Cornish was especially happy with how her team played.

“We knew that they [Wisconsin-Whitewater] were good, but we played really well that day,” said Cornish. “A lot of times when it’s 1-0, you can start to play defensive. But we kept on doing the things that got us that lead. I was really, really pleased by how we played against Whitewater.”

The team kept their momentum going this past weekend in Iowa, winning games against non-conference opponents Nebraska Wesleyan and Luther in dominating fashion.

Against Nebraska Wesleyan, Cloepfil recorded a hat trick, and goalie Rosie Glenn-Finer ’13 saved all three shots she faced on goal en route to an easy 5-0 victory. And in the Scots’ 4-1 win against Luther, Bonnie Gale ’15 scored three goals for a hat trick of her own.

Bentson had nothing but praise for her teammates’ performances.

“It was really cool [to see the two hat tricks],” said Bentson. “It was especially good to see Georgia play that well since she worked really hard this summer to score more. And Bonnie [Gale] blew us out of the water on Sunday. She was always in the right place at the right time.”

Although there are some new faces in the starting lineup, probably the most significant change between this season and last was Cornish’s hiring. Cornish was the head coach at University of North Carolina Asheville (a Division I school) for sixteen years, and before that was an assistant coach at Macalester in 1991. She believes that her experience at both the Division I and III levels will be beneficial to coaching at Macalester.

“[It’s] helped me strike a balance as a coach,” said Cornish. “I’m trying to apply the things I learned as a DI coach to the DIII model…[The soccer program] is already super competitive, and I want to bring more competitiveness to the team, while still having that balance as a DIII school.”

Both Greene and Bentson have noticed this intensity in their new coach. “She knows exactly what she wants from each player on the field,” said Greene. “[You] work hard, but you have fun while you’re doing it. The harder you work in her drills, the more fun you have doing them.”

“She’s very laid back, but very intense at the same time,” said Bentson. “She’ll always tell you what you need to hear.”

In addition to the team’s respect for their new coach, it appears as if the players have great mutual respect for one another. As one of the most visible groups on campus, the women’s soccer team can often be found eating meals at Café Mac together. Cornish praised the culture that longtime coach John Leaney instilled in the program during his years as head coach.

“John fostered this environment of respect for each other as a team,” said Cornish. “There’s no real difference between the person and the top and bottom of the team, other than maybe the amount of time they’ve spent kicking the ball around.”

“Everyone just connects with each other and gets along well with one another,” added Greene.

This great chemistry has transferred onto the team’s performance in games.

“We all hold ourselves accountable on the field,” said Bentson. “We expect high intensity from one another, and we don’t let anyone play at a low level.”

Despite a 1-0 setback this Tuesday against St. Benedict in their MIAC opener, things are still looking promising for this Scots squad. The team next plays against Loras College at Macalester Stadium on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

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